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Oil and Gas

INTERIVEW-Sempra's Costa Azul LNG port to get regular cargoes

* Costa Azul to take cargo every 12 days

* Tangguh production ramp up means more deliveries

* Margins are there for sending gas to Costa Azul

NEW YORK, April 22 (Reuters) - Sempra Energy SRE.N plans to send nearly three cargoes a month to its Costa Azul LNG terminal in Baja California, Mexico, as supply from Indonesia ramps up, the head of Sempra's LNG division said on Thursday.

The terminal has received only sporadic deliveries of shipped liquefied natural gas since it began operations in 2008, due to supply problems at the Tangguh LNG plant in Indonesia and low gas prices which deterred other shippers from sending many cargoes there.

But increased production from the Tangguh LNG plant in Indonesia means more, regular, imports to Costa Azul going forward, Darcel Hulse, chief executive of Sempra LNG, told Reuters.

“It works out to be a cargo every 12 days, that’s the minimum depending on the market,” Hulse said.

Sempra has bought 500 billion cubic feet of LNG from Tangguh for 20 years. Tangguh has the option to divert half those cargoes away from Costa Azul should more attractive options arise.

Costa Azul, which supplies gas to the United States via pipeline from Baja California, took its first Indonesian cargo in August last year. After only few deliveries late last year, imports have shown signs of picking up, with two cargoes arriving in both March and April.

“It’s because the [Tangguh LNG] plant came online. They are now producing and delivering and fulfilling their contract obligations,” Hulse said.

Tangguh, which came online last year, had experienced some teething problems during start-up.

Despite low gas prices in the United States compared to in Asia, Sempra does see some returns from shipping gas across the Pacific to Baja California. “For us, the margins at Costa Azul are there,” said Hulse.

Sempra also takes a fixed fee from Shell RDSa.L and Gazprom GAZP.MM who have leased terminal capacity from Sempra at Costa Azul. Neither Gazprom nor Shell have sent LNG there yet. (Reporting by Edward McAllister; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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